This is why an Eastbourne restaurant was given a zero-star hygiene rating

Food for Friends in Meads Street
Food for Friends in Meads Street

Filthy photographs of a Mediterranean restaurant have been released by environmental health following a Freedom of Information request by this newspaper.

Following its inspection on May 20, the Food Standards Agency gave Food for Friends in Meads Street a zero-star rating out of five, stating it needed ‘urgent improvement’.

You can see the pictures from the inspection here, showing the state of the kitchen in relation to its cleanliness, including issues with snail slime, raw meat contamination and the lack of designated hand washing facilities.

Since this inspection it was reinspected on August 29. It has now been given a one-star rating out of five and been told it requires ‘major improvement’.

Back in May, inspectors made many shocking discoveries when it visited the Meads Street restaurant.

One such finding was that raw meat had been stored above ready to eat food and blood from the meat has dripped all over the food below.

The inspector wrote: “At the time of the visit, raw meat was stored above ready to eat foods. Blood from the meat had dripped all over the food below which then had to be disposed of due to actual cross contamination.

“Any raw foods that may drip or fall into items below can result in cross contamination that could lead to food poisoning. You should ensure that food is kept covered and cooked/ready to eat food are always stored separately and above any hazardous raw food items.”

Another discovery was that there was no dedicated wash hand basin provided for food handlers.

In the report it said: “There was only one sink in the kitchen being used for hand washing, food preparation and equipment washing. At the time of my visit there was food being defrosted in the sink alongside dirty equipment waiting to be washed up. You also advised me to wash my hands in this sink before I started my inspection.

“It is unacceptable to use the single sink for food preparation and for storing dirty equipment at the same time due to the risks of cross contamination.

“There was a commercial dishwasher in the kitchen, meaning that the sink should be designated as a food preparation sink only. If you need to use this sink for equipment washing it must be thoroughly cleaned and sanitised before it can be used again for food preparation.”

During the May visit, the inspector found the table top fridges – which contained soft cheese and ham – were not being monitored and were running at between 12-15°C, despite the legal maximum for high risk, chilled foods is 8°C.

There was also ‘no coherent system of stock rotation within the business’, meaning food was not adequately labelled when it should be disposed of and manufacturers’ instructions for shelf life once opened were not being adhered to.

Other issues included cleaning materials being stored next to food, dirty wiping cloths were used to clean down and mop up spillages, and there were ‘trails of snail slime’ over the rubber-backed carpeted mats in both the wash up area and the main cooking area of the kitchen.

When the inspector investigated the rear store area they found it had been made from ‘internal doors pushed together to form a roof and walls’ which was not weathertight or pest proof. Plus, as well as being used as a food store, it housed electrical appliances such as fridges, freezers, washing machines and tumble driers which are only intended for indoor use.

Concluding the report, the inspector wrote: “The business is not being managed properly and the relevant checks are not being carried out to ensure food is being safely produced.

“It was apparent during my inspection that the level of food hygiene awareness amongst your staff was inadequate.”

Clearly since the May inspection some improvements have been made, moving it from zero-rated to one-star rated. The Eastbourne Herald has approached the owners of the business for a comment.